Celebrity Interview: Suniel Shetty

By Manissha Despaande, IANS

imageMumbai, (IANS) If Suniel Shetty has lately been refusing a lot of offers, there's a reason for it. After 15 years in the industry, he wants to do only diverse and performance-oriented roles.

Starting with "Dus", "Chocolate", "Phir Hera Pheri" and "Deewane Hue Paagal", Suniel has an imposing line-up of films in the year ahead, which he says is the result of meticulous planning.

"I have been around for 15 years and have been making a deliberate effort to pick and choose roles that are both diverse and performance-oriented. Mediocrity is definitely out, which is why I refused a number of roles in the recent past," Suniel told Bollywood Trade.

"My criteria for choosing a role have more to do with the director and the set-up. It doesn't make a difference whether it's a solo hero or five-hero project as long as the director is creatively inspiring and the producer ensures a proper release for the film. That's one of the reasons I chose to work in 'Dus', for the experience of working with a talented director like Anubhav Sinha and being a part of a very promising project," says Suniel, who plays the role of a Pakistani cop in the film.

"It is a role that is excellently inter-woven in the script of the film. Besides it was a great experience shooting with my favourite co-stars from Sanjay Dutt to Abhishek and Zayed," he says.

He wants to play a wide variety of characters.

"For instance in 'Deewane Hue Pagal', I am playing a lame guy on crutches, who succeeds in making a point despite his limitations. It is a hilarious comedy and it was equally challenging to play the role," he recalls.

He is also excited about the role of a struggling director that he is playing in the forthcoming film "Amar Joshi Shahid Rahe".

"It is a brilliant role with a brilliant director, Rajneesh, who was earlier an assistant to Ram Gopal Varma," he says. Apart from the breed of talented new directors, there are some others with whom he has cultivated a lifelong relationship, like Priyadarshan.

"Priyan is among those with whom I share a great bonding. He just has to call me and I'll be available for any of his films," says Suniel.

On the production front too, he is gearing up for something big in the coming year, clarifying he is in mood to give up production despite flops.

"No doubt the experience in film production hasn't been a great one so far, but I definitely don't intend to give it up yet. We are merely lying low this year, but next year we have some great plans lined up. It starts with the film directed by Priyadarshan that Popcorn is producing in association with Ashtavinayak Cine Vision in January 2006," he says.

There's more happening on the business front with the concept of 'Bollywood tourism'.

"There are some great plans and I am confident of seeing them through. If you know the destination and have an organised line of action to reach there, there's nothing stopping you."